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The Weight Watcher's Dilemma Essay

2164 words - 9 pages

The Weight Watcher’s Dilemma
Sit back and consider all the features you would like to change about yourself. Next, imagine yourself perfectly. Imagine that you look exactly the way you want to look, think of how amazing and satisfied you would feel. Now—what’s stopping you from achieving these goals of personal perfection? Do they seem out of your reach? Flipping through the channels, one finds no sign of obesity or malnourished, until one happens upon a charity commercial featuring Sarah McLaughlin. As soon as the television is turned off, the vision of reality restores. Humans are huge! In the past we naturally lost weight and maintained a healthy lifestyle through manual labor and ...view middle of the document...

When discussing the dilemmas of a weight watcher it becomes clear how a simple lifestyle change can turn into a mind rattling infatuation. First, let’s consider the effects of the media and public opinion.
In the first few minutes of meeting someone new, a person assumes they know everything about the person, strictly based on aesthetics and body language; and the media capitalizes on this idea. Unfortunately humans have developed a naturalized understanding of the structure of beauty based on the media. They assume beauty equals health or that the “beauty” illustrated is natural. The Youtube video entitled “Fat Girl to Skinny Girl Photoshop” demonstrates how simply the media manipulates the bodies and minds of the public. In the video a picture is taken of a plus-size woman and put into editing software where the editor shapes the woman into the image suitable for public consumption—as skinny woman. This same project can be found thousands of times on Youtube. It’s obvious that people shape and manipulate the bodies because it’s almost unfathomable the perfection portrayed in print media, but for some reason, the public is digesting these manipulated images as fact. Cartoons and children’s television often portrays the children fairly similar in weight and often cast an overweight child as the other—usually the villainized bully or traumatized loner. This child is also the one struggling to accomplish the tasks that others complete easily. The media effectively naturalizes the minds of children and adolescents to believe that life is struggle if you do not fit in to the mold created. The cartoon Family Guy, American Dad, and The Clevelands uses the same animation structure to satirize typical American life and although they are a humorous cartoon, when they portray crowds it’s often similarly shaped bodies with indistinguishable faces. This causes the viewer to naturalize the idea of conformity. They are meant to look like a mass, nothing threatening and nothing divergent.
The naturalized perceptions of the media translate into false ideas about good health and nutrition. Maria del Mar Bibiloni wrote an article called, “Body Image and Eating Patterns among Adolescents” in which she discusses her research analysis on the habits of teenagers’ self-perception as it relates to eating habits. She found that, “Fifty-one percent of boys and sixty percent of girls that wished to be thinner had less than or equal to 3 eating occasions per day” (Bibiloni). The people who desired to be thinner ate less of what it takes to lose weight. They unconsciously believed that eating less would result in losing weight. The media shifts the healthy eating construction to appear as though less is more; however, if you’re eating fewer amounts of processed-unhealthy foods and no healthy foods at all, weight loss is practically inconceivable. The body stores fat because it believes it will never eat anything worth processing again, for example, clean fruits and...

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